Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Risky Disclosures on Facebook: The Effect of Having a Bad Experience on Online Behavior

an article by Emily Christofides and Serge Desmarais (University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada) and Amy Muise (University of Toronto, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) published in Journal of Adolescent Research Volume 27 Number 6 (November 2012)


Social network websites are widely used by adolescents, but disclosing in this environment has inherent risks, as does connecting with others online. In a sample of 256 adolescent Facebook users, the authors explore the relationship between having a negative experience, privacy knowledge, and behaviour.

Their reports of bad experiences on Facebook are categorised as bullying/meanness, unwanted contact, exposure/unintentional disclosure, and misunderstandings. Adolescents who report having a bad experience are more likely to protect their privacy, and this relationship is mediated by knowledge of the privacy settings.

Participants who experience negative consequences are more aware of the risks of online disclosure and how to protect themselves, which results in greater information control. Implications for educating adolescents about privacy and disclosure online are discussed.

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